On Tuesday, July 21, a woman from Chestermere travelled to Calgary to meet a friend. Vida Smith was supposed to return home but never did — missing a medical appointment in the process. Calgary police are now scrambling to solve this mystery which has been classified as a homicide. Police are also searching for a witness who could have information on the disappearance. 

Calgary police have taken to social media in an attempt to solve one of the city's latest crimes.  

According to the Facebook post, 69-year-old Smith didn't return home on the July day which prompted her family to report her as missing. 

At the time, Smith was wearing a black tank top, patterned skirt, carrying a black purse and driving her black four-door 2002 Nisan Altima with the license plate WBE 070 and damage to the left rear panel. 

Ten days later on Friday, July 31, police announced that they believe foul play was involved and that Smith had been killed. 

During a press conference, police expressed that they exhausted all of the “footprints of life that a person would have.” 

Given the results, it's believed that “Vita was murdered and now [police are] looking for, unfortunately, a body recovery.”

In relation to this, a 60-year-old man named Kevin Barton, also known as Chris Lee, was charged with one count of manslaughter. 

Police have not released any information on how they came to the conclusion that Barton was involved in the death of Smith but during the same press conference, it was announced that he was known nationally to law enforcement. 

The man was also known to both Smith and Smith’s family, police say.

The motive behind the murder is still being investigated.

After reviewing CCTV footage, police are now looking to speak with a woman who is believed to have witnessed a “disturbance” between a man and a woman who were inside an SUV parked on the west side of the Sunridge ATB. 

The interaction occurred the day Smith disappeared between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

Other than being a potential witness, Calgary police have stated that this woman, who has not been identified, has no other involvement in the homicide case. 

“From what we observed on CCTV, we believe that this woman witnessed something that caught her attention as she was walking by a vehicle,” says Acting Staff Sergeant Stu Cole of the CPS Homicide Unit on the Facebook post.

“We’re very interested in speaking with her and are looking for the public’s help to identify her.”

Calgary police have released a description of what the witness looks like.

Calling her short in stature and having a slim to medium build, the woman was wearing glasses, a black head covering, a black backpack, black leggings, and a black long sleeve shirt at the time. 

She also had on a black and white skirt with black shoes. 

Photos of the woman have been released, however, you cannot see her face. 

Homicide teams are continuing to investigate the situation and at this time, no remains have been found. 

Anyone who may have seen Barton or his beige Cadillac Escalade in Calgary, Edmonton, or in between on Wednesday, July 22, are asked to contact the police. 

The best number to contact is either the homicide tip line at (403)428-8877 or the police non-emergency line at (403)266-1234. 

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